Human merchandise

Russia jails former US marine for nine years for police assault

Trevor Reed is watched by security during his sentencing in a Moscow court

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EUROPEAN PRESS GROUP

A Russian court has sentenced a former US marine to nine years in prison on charges of assaulting a police officer while drunk, in a controversial case that he has claimed is political.

Trevor Reed, 29, was convicted of endangering the lives of police officers during an incident last August that he says he cannot remember.

After being detained for public drunkenness following a party, he was accused of hitting one police officer and pulling at the arm of another who was driving a police car, potentially causing an accident.

Most of the evidence in the trial has been disputed. Reed was alone with the police officers when the alleged incident took place.

Reed is the second former US marine to be sentenced to a lengthy prison term in Russia this summer. In June, a court convicted Paul Whelan of espionage and sentenced him to 16 years in a high-security prison.

Whelan is seen as a likely bargaining chip in a trade for several Russian nationals serving prison terms in the US. His Russian lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, said he could be exchanged for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer serving 25 years in a US prison.

Another possible target was the Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was sentenced on drug charges to 20 years in a US prison after being extradited from Liberia.

A US businessman, Michael Calvey, is under house arrest in Russia on fraud charges, which he denies.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Reed’s case had come up in discussions of a potential prisoner exchange, according to a lawyer representing Bout and Yaroshenko in US courts.

Reed was in Russia visiting his girlfriend and studying the language when he drank a large amount of vodka at a party. After leaving, he became unruly, prompting a colleague of his girlfriend to call the police. The police told his girlfriend, Alina Tsybulnik, to collect Reed once he had sobered up, RFE/RL reported.

When Tsybulnik arrived at the station the next morning, she saw Reed being interviewed by members of the FSB, Russia’s security service, without a lawyer present.

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Wegen Spionage für die USA hat ein Gericht in Moskau den seit fast eineinhalb Jahren inhaftierten US-Bürger Paul Whelan zu 16 Jahren Straflager verurteilt.